Are You “Nicely Matched”?

Malcolm Gladwell often poses interesting theories, data, and observations that make me think. He appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to talk about his new book, Talking to Strangers.

In his chat–see the video below–he talks about how some people are “nicely matched” and others are “mismatched.” He’s referring to how we express our emotions.

For example, if a “nicely matched” person is happy, they probably have a big grin on their face. If they’re “mismatched,” however, they may have a stoic expression and their arms are crossed. They’re happy–it’s just not clear to most people.

My guess is that most people are circumstantially nicely matched and circumstantially mismatched. For example, if I’m tired, I cannot hide it. But if I’m excited about something (like a new movie), sometimes I actually get nervous, and that nervousness manifests physically.

Another example is recently when I was out to dinner with Megan and a friend. I was having a good time joking about something, and later Megan asked if the joke had gone too far because I had my arms crossed tightly across my chest. For me, I just needed a place to put my hands, but it looked to her like I was hurt or offended.

I’d like to think that an awareness of being circumstantially mismatched can help me uncross those arms or smile if I’m excited so my emotions match my physicality for the benefit of those around me.

What do you think about this concept? Are you more often nicely matched or mismatched?

1 thought on “Are You “Nicely Matched”?”

  1. Jamey,

    I would have to say, and most people would agree, I’m exuberantly matched in that I’m almost always happy..and I’m not afraid to let other people know that. Hopefully, my level of enthusiasm has proven infectious as I truly want others to feel the same way, but I also know that it’s an unreasonable expectation for others to always feel happy.



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